Amendment to the asbestos restriction in REACH Annex XVII. Tony Musu 10 th ETUI seminar on workers protection & chemicals Ispra, June 2014

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1 Amendment to the asbestos restriction in REACH Annex XVII Tony Musu 10 th ETUI seminar on workers protection & chemicals Ispra, June 2014

2 Overview Background information on asbestos ban in the EU Amendments to the asbestos restriction proposed by ECHA Trade Union views on the ECHA s amendments Timeline for the legislative process 2

3 Background information on asbestos ban in the EU (1) Directive 1999/77/EC (6th ATP to Annex I of Directive 76/769/ECC), as from 1st January 2005 : Total ban of asbestos fibrest COM to review the derogation before 1 January 2008 with one derogation: diaphragms containing chrysotile for existing electrolysis installations The derogation is not on the fibres but on the diaphragms containing the fibres!

4 Background information on asbestos ban in the EU (2) In 2006, the restriction on asbestos was taken over into entry 6 of REACH Annex XVII The text was slightly rephrased to replace «products» by «articles» and to clarify that the derogation concerns the placing on the market and use of diaphragms containing chrysotile COM to review the derogation before 1 January 2008 Again, the derogation is not on the fibres but on the diaphragms containing the fibres!

5 Background information on asbestos ban in the EU (3) In 2008, the COM carried out a review of the derogation and concluded it could be maintained 1 for the following reasons: - only 3 plants in the EU use asbestos diaphragms ( 2 in DE, 1 in PL) for chlor-alkali production - the plants are all relatively old and are of low-voltage type to minimize power consumption - asbestos-free alternatives are available and have proved succesful in high-voltage installations but not in low-voltage installation - risks from the use of asbestos diaphragms are under control - conversion of existing plants to high voltage plants expensive and not economically viable (1) ETUC analysis of the COM review: - non-asbestos alternatives with lower power consumption compared to asbestos diaphragms are available and in use in different countries in the world - COM did not assess the situation in plants that have implemented alternative technology - COM did not consult the Cttee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment on health risks of chrysotile asbestos and its substitutes as indicated in Directive 1999/77/EC - COM did not mention that asbestos fibres (on top of the diaphragms containing asbestos) are also imported in Germany by one company.

6 Amendments of the asbestos restriction proposed by ECHA (1) In 2013, the COM requested ECHA to prepare an Annex XV restriction report to amend entry 6 of REACH Annex XVII. From the Annex XV report we can learn that : 1. Only 2 companies are using the exemption in the EU: - AAK in Sweden for hydrogen production - Dow Chemical in Germany for chlor-alkali production 2. AAK has already decided to adopt a chrysotile-free production method for hydrogen within 5-10 years 3. Dow is currently testing a chrysolite-free diaphragms but it will take until 2025 to eventually adopt the alternative 4. Dow not only import the diaphragms containing chrysotile but also the chrysotile fibers (~ 50 t/y) to maintain the diaphragms during their use in the process (DE transposed the EU derogation at national level with an extensive interpretation!) 5. Dow stock of asbestos fibres (540 t) is enough for 10 years operation 6. The risks to workers in the 2 companies are claimed fully controlled

7 Amendments of the asbestos restriction proposed by ECHA (2) 1. Extend the derogation for the 2 companies until Extend the scope of the derogation to include the placing on the market and use of chrysotile fibres

8 Amendments of the asbestos restriction proposed by ECHA (3) 3. Add a mandatory annual report from the companies on the their use and risks related to the use of chrysotile 4. Allow the possibility to extend the derogation after 2025

9 Trade union s views on the ECHA s amendments : the placing on the market and use of chrysotile fibres in the EU is illegal according to the REACH legal text See ECJ judgment 7 March 2013 (case C-358/11): derogations from restrictions under REACH are exceptional and must be interpreted strictly Extending the scope of the derogation to allow import of asbestos fibres is not needed: AAK does not need free asbestos fibres in its production process Dow has imported enough free fibres for 10 years operation ECHA s proposals are in contradiction with the EU demand for a worldwide ban on asbestos and EU Parliament resolution of March 2013 technically and economically viable alternatives are available to make it possible to manufacture chlorine without using chrysotile: Dow uses asbestos-free technology for chlorine production in its US plants! The current asbestos derogation in the EU must now end

10 Time line for the legislative process : January 2014: COM requested ECHA to prepare Annex XV restriction report March 2014: RAC & SEAC agreed on report conformity 19 March 2014 : start of the 6 months public consultation June 2014: first detailed discussion at RAC & SEAC 19 September 2014: end of the public consultation Nov & Dec 2014: next discussions at RAC & SEAC (draft opinion) December 2014: start of 60 days public consultation on RAC & SEAC draft opinions March 2015: final opinions of both RAC & SEAC available June 2015: COM draft an amendment to REACH Annex XVII COM takes final decision by comitology

11 Thank you, further info on: > Our activities > REACH

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